Ten (10) Ways to Exercise Your Brain – “I” is for Intelligence Preservation

This week is "I" is for Intelligence Preservation -

Ten (10) Ways to Exercise Your Brain

W.D.I.C.I.H.F? What did I come in here for? is the most often asked question at my house. I end up in my kitchen or in my laundry room or my bathroom and have to stop myself in my hurried tracks to regurgitate what I was thinking about minutes before in order to remember what I went in there for. Preserving my intelligence means preserving the dependability of my thinking and of my brains behavior.

I did a bit of research for this piece (rare) and I discovered a few things about intelligence studies. One study① showed that people who were open to new experiences were more likely to preserve fluid intelligence②.

So my #1 suggestion to you is: be open to new experiences! In my case that won’t mean jumping out of airplanes or climbing mountains, but it might mean doing things in a different way than how I’ve done them the last 1,247,952 times, or maybe ordering ribeye instead of salmon once again.

Keeping rejuvenation a part of our being is good for us.

Another study③ showed that people who had the following things in common retained fluid intelligence better than other members of the study:

  1. exercised
  2. engaged in social activities
  3. coped well with stress
  4. felt in control of their lives

So #2? Be active and be calm. Good thing because for me being active and exercising makes me feel more calm.

Other searches of the internet commonly mention the following things:

#3 Read - and not simple, light, fluffy Facebook posts all of the time. Pick up a Pulitzer Prize winning kind of book to read, a book on poetry, or something you wouldn’t normally choose.
#4 Meditation – and find a way to redefine “meditation” so that it works for you. Long walks, painting, running, sitting quietly, yoga, or even an actual form of meditation.
#5 Add to your vocabulary – open the dictionary (or app) every morning to learn a new word and its definition.
#6 Learn a new language
#7 Escape the phone fog once in a while. Put the phone down and forget about it, not just for minutes, but for hours. I once forgot my phone at home and by the time I got back home at the end of the day, the world hadn’t ended.
#8 Thinking games – the next time you have a long wait for a table at a restaurant with your family, play the ABC Memory game: One person comes up with an “A” word, as in A is for Apple. The next person comes up with a “B” word, like B is for Blimp, and then they also repeat A is for Apple. The next person (or back and forth) will say a “C” word followed by repeating the B word and then the A word. I used to do this when my son was younger while we were out to eat as a family and it passes the time quickly and is good for some laughs together. Exercising your memory with a list of words that grow as the game gets longer is great brain exercise.
#9 Create more positive channels in your brain than negative. Give yourself a positive thought immediately upon awakening, no matter what kind of day you think you might have, and then give yourself a positive thought right before sleep and allow that to become a daily habit.
#10 Respect your brain - Use it or lose it. Put your brain to good use. It’s such a complicated tool that we depend on for everything we do. Focus on the things that continue to keep it healthy, active and growing.

The next time you find yourself googling a random celebrity or a trending topic, do a search on brain exercise and brain health instead. Find some of your own ideas on how you can treat your brain right and extend its output and quality. You'll learn something new that is useful and for your own purpose.

Katherine is doing an ABC Blog Series for #BetterChoices2016 in order to make 2016 your best year yet. Follow her blog at www.backtobeingawoman.com or get the blogs as soon as they are sent out by signing up for her newsletters.

Make Better Choices Today 2016 ~               xo Katherine

① Edinburgh University’s Centre for Cognitive Aging and Cognitive Epidemiology/Psychology and Aging – August 2012 issue of eu:sci Edinburgh University’s science magazine.
② Fluid Intelligence – Wikipedia - Fluid intelligence or fluid reasoning is the capacity to reason and solve novel problems, independent of any knowledge from the past.
③ Midus Study – Midlife in the United States, Brandeis University

Find previous ABC Blogs here.

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